‘They are so grateful to feel safe’ says Leeds support worker caring for 13 refugee families

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Cath Peart works for Migration Yorkshire, the Leeds-based organisation which is overseeing the arrival of 1,500 Syrian refugees in the region over the next two to three years.

She currently has 13 families in her care, helping them settle into their new surroundings. Among her charges are young Syrian brothers Saif and Reda, pictured with Cath.

“I usually first meet the families at the drop off point in Leeds if I haven’t been to the airport,” she said.

“This is where they are given a brief welcome and everyone is introduced.

“We then take families to their properties. I work very closely with Refugee Council. I visit initially weekly for one year, and any problems they have regarding housing, I deal with.”

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“The people in Leeds have been brilliant, they have been so generous for which we are very grateful,” Cath added.

“I’m always saddened by what people have been through and amazed at how they have coped,

“I sometimes wonder if I would cope in a situation like theirs.

“Imagine leaving family and friends and not knowing if you would ever see them again.

“Then, the reality of what they have been through means they are left with no choice but to leave.

“Of course I become attached - how could I not, working with people like this who are so grateful for giving them a ‘safe place’ to live.

“The kids are adorable and I call them all ‘easal’ which is honey in Arabic.

“They all tell me this is a place to stay until they can return home.”